Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A work in progress...

It's Michigan winter already!  Snow is blanketing the outdoors in fluffy mounds of beautiful white...and I am carrying my dog. We've been outside a grand total of about 30 seconds and he's staring me down with a sorrowful look as he shuffles from side to side trying to get all 4 paws and his low profile body up out of the snow. Nevermind the fact that we came out here so he could do his morning "business" which has been held for the last 8+ hours while the rest of the household slept.  With a bit of verbal coaxing frome me, one out of 2 actions gets completed.

The stare shifts from, "Please take me inside, pwetty, pwetty, pweeeeease mom!" to a disgruntled, "Okay...here's how it's gonna be.  I hate this stuff, you hate this stuff, lets go inside now.  I'll pee on the floor, you clean it up, and we'll never have to deal with this stuff again.  K? Let's go." And then he runs the length of the leash toward the door, and turns to look at me again. There is more verbal coaxing. There is no action.  There is more staring. The shivering increases, along with a heightened amount of foot shuffling. After a full 5 minutes of standing my ground I can't do it any more.  It's clear he has won this argument, simply for the fact that I don't want him to freeze to death and he's so uncomfortable that he's even taken to flopping on his side in the snow so his paws won't be touching it any more. You wouldn't be able to stand it either...

Kinda like that, only...not happy.

So now we're back indoors, thankfully accident free so far, (Fingers crossed.  He is a dachshund after all...) and I am continuing to tweak his new set of paw protectors.  Moose has never been good in rotten weather, so I knew the above scenario would come along sooner or later.  Last week I stopped by the pet shop to pick him up a pair of pre-made ones.  They wanted $32 for them! My inner black lady surfaced shortly after, screaming "Oh no you di-int!".  Seriously?  32 bucks!  And they weren't garaunteed to even be fully waterproof. Now lets get into why I didn't want to pay that price:

As you know, Moose is a dachshund.  They have odd shaped bodies and his in particular is very small.  99.9% of the time, anything off a clothing rack for dogs will not fit him.  Smalls don't fit him, and he's swimming in a medium. This is still true with this paws, only in the length department with the premade protectors.  They would either be too short and he'd just step out of them, or they'd be too long and would interfere with walking.

Secondly, we know how stubborn Moose can be.  (If you don't, I wish you would refer back to the single instance at the top of this post).  If he doesn't want to do something-in this case WEAR the paw protectors-he will do everything in his power not to.  I was not about to spend that much money for him to chew his way through them trying to get them off.

My solution is to make him some myself.  I headed to the fabric store and bought some polar fleece and some vinyl, along with a small bit of elastic and velcro.  Granted, these are not going to be for long winter walks, but they should keep him comfortable for those few key moments in the morning on days when I can't just bring him inside, since I'll be leaving for work. I spent $10 for all the materials, but I also bought enough fabric to make about 50 of the things.  I wanted LOTS for trial-and-error sizing.  I'm still working out the kinks, but I'll put up a tutorial when I get it figured out.

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